South London has some epic parks and nature reserves. Greenwich, Crystal Palace and Brockwell Park are some of the city’s most beautiful and rightly celebrated parks. But there’s an incoming contender that might steal the crown for the best south London green space. Beddington Farmlands in Sutton (near Croydon) is set to be restored as a nature reserve and will be transformed from its former use as a landfill site and sewage works.
The new greenspace will be bigger than Hyde Park (phwoar!) and will provide habitat and species resilience amid environmental worries. The restoration of the land was one of the conditions of the building of the ominous-sounding Beddington Incinerator, a rubbish-burning facility, which was granted in 2013.
It might be some time before south Londoners can run around the green space and feel the wind blow through their hair, though. The original plan was for the nature reserve to be completed by the end of 2023, but work on the site has been delayed due to management issues. Sutton Council is now considering taking legal action against Valencia Waste Management, formerly Viridor, the company in charge of the project.
At a meeting on Monday night, Councillor David Bartolucci said there had been no real progress on the farmlands since January. He said: ‘The creation of the Beddington Farmlands will create the single biggest site dedicated to nature in Sutton and will help provide habitat and species resilience in the face of the changing climate.’
Bartolucci added: ‘The council has always been concerned that neither Viridor or Valencia Waste Management appear to have any detailed programme works or contingency plans to deal with changing site conditions. The most recent detailed assessment of progress by council staff concludes that the delivery of substantial completion of each habitat by December 31, 2023 is highly unlikely.’
It’s still unconfirmed when the project might be completed and open to the public, but until then, here’s hoping that Beddington Farmlands nature reserve will open ASAP. You can never have enough green space.